The Colts found a diamond in the rough. A running back who will be generational, and I will stand by it. Jonathan Taylor has all the tools to become one of the best ever. Yes - after one season. I will throw that hot take into the pot. Taylor has the most upside. Taken in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, the Colts got a steal. A year after stepping in for Marlon Mack's injury, Taylor made it known, the RB1 crown in Indy was his. Now, the RB1 in fantasy is the next step in asserting his dominance.
Without an offensive line, none of this would be possible. There have been countless times where a star-studded running back cannot seem to get going because of a weak or depleted offensive line. A prime example was Saquon Barkley last season. Before tearing his ACL, he could not get anything going on the ground. That for starters is not his fault. Barkley was the RB1 in fantasy his rookie season. Fast forward to his second year and he was still great, finishing at number 10.
In his third season, Barkley literally played one full game and had 15 rush attempts for only SIX yards! Barkley is one of the best backs in all of football, so this was not his fault. Then, in week two, 4 rush attempts for 28 yards before tearing his ACL. Without an offensive line, a running game will never work, and honestly, the offense will not work.
The Colts have one of the two best offensive lines in all of football according to PFF.com. They have depth with players such as Sam Tevi, Joey Hunt, and Julie'n Davenport. Then, the Colts signed Eric Fisher who is coming off of an Achilles surgery, but should be ready to play this season. The best part of it all is that the Colts have the best offensive lineman in all of football, Quentin Nelson. A future first ballot Hall of Famer, Nelson has been graded a top three guard in his first three seasons! He can make any block in the run game and has graded an 81 or higher in pass protection in his first three seasons. These are the ingredients that can make Jonathan Taylor the RB1 this season.
The strength of the schedule is based on the season before, but that still means something. Research must always be done when picking in fantasy. Do not just go off rankings on ESPN, Yahoo, etc. At the end of the day, you being the GM need to look at all aspects and the schedule for the players you want is key. With running backs, I look for weak divisions and the AFC South is just that. The offense of the Titans is powerful, but every AFC South team was in the bottom half in terms of total rushing yards allowed last season.
In five games vs division opponents last season, Taylor averaged 92 rush yards a game, 129 receiving yards, and four total touchdowns. The most exciting part of JT is how he finished the 2020 season. In his last six games he appeared in, Taylor's averages were 123.5 rushing yards, 17 receptions, 96 receiving yards, a total of eight touchdowns, and 21.9 fantasy points a game. Taylor ended the season with a monstrous game of 30 carries, 253 rushing yards, and two touchdowns vs division rival, the Jaguars. A fitting finale for a future RB1.
Taylor has the fourth easiest schedule for running backs. He is going in the middle of fantasy drafts falling to the end of the first round in some mocks! This is a scenario that has all the right tools to finish in a positive manner. JT finished with 36 receptions as just a rookie, and that is something that will increase with better quarterback play. At 22 years old, if it isn't McCaffery, Cook, Kamara, or Adams, there is no one else you should draft besides Jonathan Taylor. A future All-Pro and the future RB1 of the 2021 NFL season.
Rockman CommentedSep 4, 2021 1:54 pm
Let’s not forget Nyheim stealing touches
rwlong CommentedSep 4, 2021 1:01 pm
I agree with you. He might be the RB1 in the future but not gonna happen this year. It will still be McCaffrey. Hines will take touches away from Taylor. Nobody is taking touches away from McCaffrey.
Christopher Szymanski CommentedSep 5, 2021 7:13 pm
JT.. a very close 2nd... to Mac